One of the most challenging aspects of divorce is property division. This involves the fair split of debts and assets that the couple shared. Assets can include the marital home, automobiles, and retirement benefits such as 401(k)s or pensions. Some couples have additional assets like bank accounts, cash, stocks and bonds, and valuable personal possessions. Liabilities can include the mortgage, credit card accounts, and home or car loans, as well as any debt one or both spouses owes to a third party. If you live in Florida and are preparing for divorce, here are some important things to remember about this aspect of the process.
Types of assets
There are two categories of property division –marital and non-marital. For the most part, any debt or assets that was acquired while the couple was married is deemed marital which means it should be properly divided when the couple divorces. Debts or assets that one spouse acquired before marriage or primarily managed during marriage may be considered non-marital which means these items or debts will only be assigned to one spouse during the property division process.
According to state statutes and case law in Florida, equitable distribution is required for all marital debts and assets. The courts must start each case presuming that all marital assets and liabilities will be equally divided between each spouse. However, upon further assessment, the marital estate will be fairly distributed between the two parties, even if each spouse does not receive the same amount. The court will consider factors such as the contribution each spouse made, the length of the marriage, and the income of each spouse.